Traditional employee engagement measurement is broken.
Measuring employee engagement via an annual survey is teeming with inefficiency. After understanding that your workforce is not engaged and identifying the issues that drove the low scores, most go on to work on the disparate HR processes to fix them in silos with any combination of people, process, and technology. Only to wrap up just in time for the next year’s survey, which demonstrates improvement in the areas you worked on, but wait – your engagement score didn’t improve significantly! The issues shifted. How infuriating!
It’s no wonder that employee engagement is such a lightning rod topic, and so ripe for disruption.
We’ve seen a bumper crop of “pulse” survey vendors come to market, all with their different slant on engagement that solve the currency issue associated with the annual survey approach. It’s a logical and cost effective step that gives a firm the ability to get feedback from employees about specific issues at relevant points in time. Measurement alone isn’t a solution, though.
Slicing and dicing employee engagement scores down to the departmental and location level – putting that information in the hands of line managers and executives without guidance to address the issues, and linkages into the processes and systems just gives us more of a real time view to the problems that your employees, managers and executives probably already know you have. The pulse survey is a nice step, but there has to be more.
It could involve consulting, and there is a need for expertise in the process, but I think there needs to be a more holistic interface to the myriad systems that impact engagement. Internal mobility, succession planning, talent management, performance management, training and learning, skills development, wellness, rewards, compensation, etc.
A low engagement score should prompt a line manager or executive to ask the right next questions to get at the real issues. It should then point to the solutions and resources available. These solutions don’t exist in a pulse survey tool. They also look different in the SMB or the large enterprise, from industry to industry, and even from department to department.
This has to start with a new definition – a new perspective – on employee engagement. The solutions don’t need to be complex. In fact, just the opposite – simple and effective.
On the tech side I like the direction that BlackBookHR, cfactor Works, and Dayforce/Related Matters are heading in. I’m looking for more vendors with a view beyond the survey. Who’s out there? Hit me in the comments, or contact me here.